This week on Dateline: Secrets Uncovered, the team travels to Edmonton in Alberta, Canada, to investigate the strange case of movie maker Mark Twitchell, who attempted to become a serial killer.
On October 10, 2010, Twitchell murdered Johnny Altinger in his garage in Edmonton. The killer had lured his victim to the garage by posing as a woman seeking a date on the dating website Plenty of Fish.
The police would later state that they believe Twitchell hit Altinger over the head with a pipe as he entered the garage and then stabbed him with a knife. He then dismembered the body and buried it in a sewer.
Twitchell then tried to stall an investigation into Altinger’s disappearance by sending an email to the victim’s friends and family, where he posed as the dead man and explained that his ‘date’ was taking him on a long vacation to Costa Rica. Altinger’s employers also received a resignation email supposedly written by the dead man.
Altinger’s friends became suspicious and reported his disappearance to the Edmonton police. A search of his home revealed no evidence that he had been planning a trip aboard.
Johnny Altinger had given friend directions to Mark Twitchell
Luckily, Altinger had emailed a friend the directions he had been given to find the garage before going on his so-called date. Police were then able to use these directions to track down the scene of the crime, which led them to Twitchell.
Twitchell was arrested on October 31, after the police discovered Altinger’s blood in the trunk of his car and on a knife he owned.
Investigators recovered Twitchell’s laptop, which contained a document titled SK Confessions. The SK stood for ‘serial killer,’ and the file laid out in detail how Twitchell had planned and carried out the murder. At his trial, he would claim that the document was an idea for a screenplay.
Earlier in October 2010, Twitchell had attempted to kill another man, Gilles Tetreault, who he had lured to his garage in the same manner that had fooled Altinger. However, after a violent struggle, Tetreault had been able to escape. Unfortunately, he was embarrassed about being duped, so he failed to report the incident to the cops at the time.
Twitchell was eventually found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The police believe he was inspired by the TV show Dexter, which features a serial killer.
The police also suspect he decided to become a serial killer in order to make a more authentic movie about murder.
More from Dateline: Secrets Uncovered
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on Dateline: Secrets Uncovered.
Stephen McDaniels fantasized about committing the perfect murder, so he killed aspiring law student 27-year-old Lauren Giddings, at their apartment complex in Macon, Georgia. However, he made so many mistakes that the cops quickly tracked him down.
Raven Abaroa stabbed his pregnant wife, Janet Abaroa, multiple times in their home in North Carolina. He then left for soccer practice, leaving their 6-month-old son alone in the house before returning to blame the murder on a home invasion.
Dateline: Secrets Uncovered airs at 7/6c on Oxygen.